The Wrestler: *** (out of 4)
You don't go to a Darren Aronofsky movie expecting to be cheered up. His past works have included a depressing look at insanity caused by mathematics (Pi), a science-fiction story of trying to save ones spouse as she dies of cancer (The Fountain), and - well, it's hard for me to describe Requiem For A Dream without using the phrase "most depressing movie ever", so I'll leave it at that.
That said, The Wrestler was definitely more mainstream than his other movies. The plot of the movie was linear, and followed major Hollywood tropes. While there were plenty of drugs and weird camera angles, they were rarely combined with an overpowering soundtrack or much of anything that will really induce vertigo. Still, the despair was there, so I knew I was watching the right movie.
The Wrestler is a story of a professional wrestler at the end of his career. He has been working for over 20 years, getting hurt and beaten on weekly basis, so that he can earn enough money to barely pay his rent at a trailer park, get the occasional lap dance, and buy the essentials of the trade. From there, things go badly. And then they continue to go badly. Then he starts to pick himself up, and things go badly some more. And just when things look darkest... he jumps.
The plot was bare-bones, but in a good way. Mickey Rourke did a great job, as did Marisa Tomei (who is insanely hot in general, let alone as a stripper). And I'll cringe whenever I think back to the end of the first act.